Many boomers find themselves in the role of caregiver. Many of us are sandwiched between caring for our own children and our aging parents. This was the case for me not too many years ago. My Mom had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease at just about the same time my youngest child was starting high school. I had two teenagers at home and a mom and dad who needed help about 150 miles away. Juggling the needs of owning and operating a business, while trying to provide care, love and support for my family was probably one of the most challenging times in my life. I know dozens of other friends and associates who were and are dealing with the same type of scenario every day.
Sometimes we become caregivers by choice (like raising children or volunteering), but many times life throws a curveball and we are forced to adapt. Meet Linda Gregoire (page 8) and her husband John, who are finding their “new normal” after John was diagnosed with ALS. Linda and John surround themselves with hope and believe hope is a statement of intent. In addition to completely reinventing every aspect of her life, Linda, who is the primary caregiver for John, has added learning to cook to her list of things to do. I think this story is a refreshing look at how a person can learn to thrive in new, challenging, unplanned, less-than-perfect circumstances—it gives me hope to read it.
Many people find their life’s work or calling—and much—joy in caregiving. Whether it’s a nurse, doctor, chaplain, teacher or day care provider (to name just a few), some folks come very naturally to this role. Maggie Atwood is one of these people. As a social worker, Atwood made a career of listening to and caring for others through her work in a private psychotherapy practice. When it came time for her to retire, Atwood found new paths to use her caregiving talents. Today she is a spiritual volunteer and also works as a “compassionate companion” in hospice as others come to the end of their lives. Atwood believes that her work “helps people feel heard, cared for and comforted during some of their darkest hours.” For more inspiration, read Maggie’s story on page 6.
As we age, we will often find ourselves in the role of caregiver, and at some point we need care for ourselves. Jane Margesson of AARP provides us with lots of local resources in her column on page 26. Equally important to finding these types of resources is to be sure that our financial house is in order. I think Scott Mazuzan provides a great start for us in his column on page 16.
Thanks for picking up this copy of My Generation magazine. Look for our next issue, all about travel, leisure and recreation, on the stands in late April. In the meantime, follow us on Facebook, and be sure to check our website at www.mygenerationmaine.com.
-Lee Hews, Publisher